A discussion we’ve had a few times on Photobookgirl.com’s Facebook fan page is about what to do with all those photos you’ve amassed in your hard drive. Before digital, you were likely in one of two camps: 1) those who printed out their photos (and left them in the envelope they came in), or 2) those who slipped them into photo albums or scrapbooks. Now that memory cards allow us to snap away at will without a thought to processing costs, I bet you have way more photos languishing on your hard drive than you ever had stacked up in shoeboxes.
But, with digital photos (and videos) comes another problem – what to do to prevent losing them to hard drive failure, accidental deletion, or natural disaster?
Option #1: At Home Storage – External Hard Drive Back Up Plus Burn DVDs
When I want to get photos off my memory cards, I upload my photos to Lightroom and make an additional archive copy of the files to a separate folder on my computer’s hard drive. Even though it’s probably not necessary for me to do the second backup on my desktop as Lightroom (and iPhoto) store an original, unedited version of all my photos, for some reason started doing this and I can’t stop!
Both copies are then backed up to an external hard drive via my Mac’s automatic backup (called Time Machine). I also bought another hard drive recently that I intend to use as additional backup for my photos so I can store it offsite (at my parents’ home) in case of flood, fire, or theft. I have also burned DVDs as backup in the past, but that’s hard to keep up with. I’m probably a few years behind in burning DVDs, but that’s an option. You can also store DVDs offsite.
- Fixed cost (no monthly charges);
- DVDs are cheap ($.02 to $.03 cents each for 4.7GB discs if you buy 100 discs)
- External hard drives are relatively inexpensive and go up to 4 terabytes now (1TB drive is about $80.00; 4TB drive is about $200.00)
- It’s convenient and you retain all control
- You have to remember to do the backup (unless it’s automated);
- External drives can crash and data can be irretreiveable;
- DVDs can deteriorate and become unreadable over time;
- Offsite backup has to be done manually (making a duplicate copy to store at a location away from home)
Since I’ve only been backing up my photos to storage media in my home, I’ve been wondering for some time now about the options for storing my photos online. I don’t consider myself an expert on this topic, but hopefully through this series of posts we can explore the possibilities together. Not every possible company will be reviewed, but I picked some that had been mentioned by some PBG readers and some that appeared to be pretty popular during my research. I thought I’d share this info with you – no reason to let this research go to waste! One thing I have to rant about is why sites make it so hard to glean basic information from their sites! Anyway, let’s see if I can help collect some of this info for you.
Coming soon will be Part II of this series on photo sharing sites and Part III will explore online file storage a/k/a “The Cloud”. If you have any thoughts about this series, feel free to comment below! Would love to hear your thoughts and how you are currently backing up your photos.